Yosemite National Park
One Of The World’s First National Parks, Renowned For Its Spectacular Scenery, Granite Rock Formations & Biological Diversity
At the Tunnel View lookout in Yosemite National Park. April 2, 2013
Yosemite National Park occupies over 3,000& km² of mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada of Northern California, 95% of it officially designated as wilderness. It was one of the world’s very first national parks and was central to the development of the national park idea; calls to protect Yosemite Valley from development ultimately led to President Abraham Lincoln’s signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864, although it wasn’t until October 1, 1890, that it officially became the third member of the United States national park system (after Yellowstone National Park, established March 1, 1872, & nearby Sequoia National Park, established September 25, 1890). Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the park, which boasts thousands of lakes & ponds, 2,500 kilometres of streams, 1,300 kilometres of hiking trails, & almost 600 kilometres of roads, attracts some 4 million visitors each year, all drawn here to sample its spectacular scenery, granite rock formations, & unique biological diversity.
– UNESCO commenting on Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Granite || Half Dome & El Capitan
Ansel Adams & The Ansel Adams Gallery
A couple by the name of Harry & Ann Best started a photography business in Yosemite Valley in 1902. Their only daughter, Virginia, married an aspiring photographer by the name of Ansel Adams. Adams, widely regarded as the best photographer who ever lived, went on to immortalise Yosemite National Park though his classic black & white images, images credited with pushing the popularity of landscape photography while helping to motivate the American environmental movement. Today the Best family continues to operate their photography business here, at the Ansel Adams Gallery.
Yosemite And Photography
The natural beauty of Yosemite inspires artists from all over the world. Early paintings & photographs encouraged people to visit the park, & also inspired people to preserve it and other beautiful places like it. Thus photography was instrumental in helping to get Yosemite set aside as a protected place. The Yosemite Visitors Centre had a small exhibit on early park photography. In the 1800s, taking photos in Yosemite was quite the production. Pioneer photographers such as Carleton Watkins carried boxes, bottles & equipment by horseback or pack train, then erected a portable darkroom – often just a canvas tent – on site. They used mammoth cameras capable of making 18 x 22 inch negative plates & the photographer balanced a 2-pound sheet of glass in one hand while pouring emulsion over its surface with the other, all the while tilting the glass back & forth. When it became sticky, they placed the plate in the camera to be exposed, before heading to the tent to develop the plate. Quite the ordeal indeed. Think I’ll stick with digital.